September 5th, 2007
|08:59 am - ...would you believe two policemen in a rowboat?|
One of the things I did last night before going to bed was begin to watch the first season of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry's Get Smart, which I had obtained after seeing the teaser trailer for the film version coming out in 2008. This version will star Steve Carell as Agent 86 and Anne Hathaway as Agent 99 and Alan Arkin as The Chief. The Rock features somewhere in there as well, but presumably not as The Rock. I admit I was very worried about hearing this, as movie adaptations of TV shows either fall into the "Let's Reinvent It And People Will Love It We Sure Do Hope!" trap (though I do admit The Brady Bunch Movie escaped that trap and was amusing on its own) or the "Let's Do What Made The Show Good In The First Place" and gain considerable acclaim (The Addams Family comes to mind, as well as the recent Simpsons movie.) Get Smart was funny for specific reasons, and to mess with that means bleh and eye-rolling posts from the likes of me.
But I liked Carell in the teaser, performing two very well-done silent gags definitely in the vein of the series: First, Maxwell Smart getting stuck in the phone booth elevator (Carell does a beautiful slow burn here) and then Smart stealthily peering through a beaded curtain, which then loses half of its beads in a loud, clattering mess. Another moment of perfect timing goes here as Carell freezes in place, glancing about nervously while the beads fall. One perfect pause later, he turns to go back, causing one final strand of beads to let loose. The slapstick was very much in the vein of the series, so I thought that was good. Carell also does a perfect Don Adams deadpan, so I have no lack of faith in him. However, the strength of the adaptation lies in the lead, the co-stars and the story, so we'll see how that goes.
The pilot of episode of the Get Smart series (filmed in black and white, by the way, very interesting) surprised me by the fact that it established so many of the show's famous running gags: Max's shoe phone, the Cone of Silence, Smart's catchphrases "Would you believe..." as well as "...and loving it!" (the latter being a true Mel Brooks line if ever there was one.) Normally I'd associate such favorites as part of a series' evolution, but no, there they were, right from the start. That intrigued me but it also worried me, because I figure that if the most well-known elements of the show were in it to begin with, boy howdy must they have been milked over several seasons.
Even so, the comedy was good and Barbara Feldon quite fetching and Don Adams is still one of the best secret agents ever, even topping Woody "I have a very low threshold of death" Allen in Casino Royale.
|Date:||September 5th, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)|| |
Ever see the 1990s TV revival with Andy Dick? It was so terrible, Andy Dick went around apologizing for it.
Andy Dick's got a lot to apologize for these days.
That reminds me, did anyone ever get footage of Jon Lovitz beating the crap out of Andy Dick?
If it existed, number one video for sale on iTunes, guaranteed.
|Date:||September 5th, 2007 03:39 pm (UTC)|| |
The Rock is playing Agent 23, whoever that is. I was really hoping he'd be Hymie.
|Date:||September 5th, 2007 05:13 pm (UTC)|| |
My sister gave my dad the first season of that for his birthday... but come my birthday did I get one? NOOooOOOooo! Some day I will get to borrow it and see it...
|Date:||September 5th, 2007 05:32 pm (UTC)|| |
i always liked the concept of the show better than the show -- for some reason don adams bugs the crap out of me.
It's finally been long enough that I can hear his voice and not picture Inspector Gadget, though. I think that counts for something.
|Date:||September 5th, 2007 06:27 pm (UTC)|| |
Maxwell Smart, Tennessee Tuxedo and Inspector Gadget all get a lot creepier when you learn that Don Adams was a drill sergeant during World War II -- and only did that because he was at Guadalcanal and came down with malaria, blackwater fever and was shot.
|Date:||September 6th, 2007 02:58 am (UTC)|| |
I think you've told me that before, but it surprises me anew every time.
|Date:||September 5th, 2007 07:02 pm (UTC)|| |
It could be that the running gags weren't put there intentionally to be running gags. They may have been just jokes that the producers thought worked well and could be carried forward.
I was watching some P&TB DVDs and one of the extras included a short segment on how the second episode had to be rewritten to include things like the "pondering" line, and the Brain's "Yes!" because the writers hadn't been aware they were expected to actually reuse those gags.
So, yeah, the running gags were there from the start, but who's to say they were meant to be running gags at all.
But I'm glad they're there.
Well, yeah. I'm pretty sure some of the gags weren't introduced with the thought of milking them over and over. You do tend to keep your favorite bits when writing episodically and using them again if A. they amuse you and/or B. you hear they amuse others. (There are jokes in Red Shift which I know were table favorites so we kept using them, and at least one phrase in the live show that was received quite well, although it's one of the most difficult ones to keep running.)
I was just very amazed that some of the most enduring and well-(loved?) jokes from the entire series were there right at the beginning.
But I do admit the Cone of Silence gag gets me every time.
|Date:||September 6th, 2007 01:04 am (UTC)|| |
This reminds me that recently I was surprised to find the 1980 Get Smart movie The Nude Bomb on HBO a few weekends ago. I hadn't seen it since then, but I was recently curious to see it again, and it's not on video that I know of. Thanks HBO!
It was not awful. There were some good jokes in it, and a bunch of ones that fell slightly flat, but it had a good villain. It surprised me that it was basically a straightforward Bond movie parody, following the exact formula of one of those pictures. Except for the middle bit, which was a 20 minute long advertisement for Universal Studios and its tour. Kind of a time capsule of what it was like at the time, but yeah, they manage to go through the entire tour as the backdrop for chasing bad guys. Makes me suspicious that this was how they managed to get a greenlight for the movie, which otherwise wouldn't have been made.
I also remembered my annoyance at the time that they changed CONTROL to something else, I think it was P.I.T.S. or something else that wasn't particularly funny.
I also appreciated that Don Adams looked pretty good throwing a punch. And not a funny punch, but a real punch. Sometimes there were moments when 86 seemed like a real secret agent instead of a bumbler.
Oh, and I still laugh to remember that the day Empire Strikes Back was released (May 21, 1980, burned into my memory), my brother and I went to see it, but one of my brother's friends got there too late and found it was sold out, so he had to see the other thing that was showing, which was The Nude Bomb. HA-ha.